Oral cancer isn’t often in the public eye, but here are some numbers that should get your attention. According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. Of those, only 50% of them are expected to survive the next five years. And, every year, about 9,500 people lose their lives to oral cancer, which equals about one person every hour of every day. April is actually Oral Cancer Awareness Month, so today, your dentist in Frisco is going to share some important cancer facts that will help you and your loved ones stay safe.
There Are Numerous Risk Factors
Like with all kinds of cancers, there are certain behaviors that make a person much more likely to develop oral cancer at some point in their life. The main one that most people know about involves the use of tobacco products, but excessive alcohol consumption can have the same effect. Also, there are numerous other risk factors that are not as well known:
- Being over the age of 40
- Having Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Being male (men have higher oral cancer rates than women)
- Having a diet that is rich in sugar and carbohydrates
- Too much exposure to the sun
- A genetic predisposition to oral cancer
Ill-fitting dentures are a cancer risk as well, because they can cause irritation in the mouth that leads to a continual inflammatory response. This is the precursor to most types of cancers.
The most common signs of oral cancer include:
- A sore in the mouth that bleeds a lot and doesn’t heal after a few weeks
- A noticeably red or white patch of oral tissue that can be smooth or rough
- Oral pain that doesn’t seem to have a dental cause
- A painful bump on the neck or face
- A persistently sore throat or hoarse voice
- The feeling that something is perpetually caught in the throat
If you or a loved one experience any of these warning signs, be sure to consult your doctor immediately.
Screenings Are Essential
Some of the risk factors listed above are well within a person’s control, but many of them are not. What can someone do to keep themselves protected? In addition to limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco altogether, it’s also important to get regular oral cancer screenings, as early detection is the key to successfully treating and surviving the disease. Where can you get them?
Conveniently, at your family dentist in Frisco. As part of your regular checkups and cleanings, your dentist and hygienist will also keep an eye out for anything in your mouth that could indicate cancer. Should they find something, they can arrange for you to get a biopsy and any follow-up treatment if necessary.
Oncology experts recommend that all adults should receive at least one oral cancer screening per year to stay safe, so if it’s been a long time since you’ve scheduled a dental appointment, now is the time to do it! In addition to fending off cavities, your dentist could literally help save your life.
About Stonebriar Smile Design
At Stonebriar Smile Design, we’re all about doing more with dentistry. In addition to taking care of your teeth, we can also use our dental knowledge to protect you from several serious overall health issues. We provide complete oral cancer screenings as part of every regular checkup as well as services that can reduce a person’s risk for diabetes, stroke, heart attack, and dementia. To learn more about how you can reduce your risk for oral cancer, or to schedule a screening, we can be contacted through our website.